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China Reports No New COVID-19 Cases for 1st Time; NY Reports Fewer Than 100

By VOA News May 24, 2020

The daily death toll from the coronavirus contagion in New York state was fewer than 100, the first time that has happened since March 24.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday the deaths of the 84 people were "a tragedy, no doubt," but the lower daily toll, however, "is really overall good news" in the state's battle against the virus.

China, the country where the coronavirus outbreak began, reported no new infections Saturday, the first time since it started reporting cases in January.

China's National Health Commission said Saturday the number of new cases fell from four to zero from Thursday to Friday, putting the official death toll at more than 4,600 and confirmed cases at nearly 83,000.

Stringent travel restrictions helped China contain the outbreak in areas of the country which have seen a significant decline in locally transmitted infections since March.

There are nearly 5.3 million COVID-19 infections worldwide and more than 340,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic has countries struggling to keep people safe while simultaneously reopening their economies, and it has disrupted collective celebrations by Muslims throughout the world observing the end of Ramadan, as well as the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S., when millions traditionally head to beaches and national parks.

The U.S. continues to be the epicenter of the contagion with 1.6 million cases, nearly one-third of all cases worldwide.

Brazil comes in second with more than 347,000 infections, followed by Russia with almost 336,000 cases.

"In a sense South America has become the new epicenter of the disease," said Michael Ryan, director of the WHO emergency program. "The most affected is clearly Brazil at this point," he added.

Brazil and Mexico reported record numbers of cases and fatalities almost every day this week, reinforcing criticism that their presidents failed to impose more stringent lockdowns measures.

However, in Chile, Ecuador and Peru, which put in place early and aggressive containment measures, infections also continued to climb, overwhelming intensive care units in those countries.

India reported another record high Saturday, surpassing 6,000 for the second straight day as it eased two-month lockdown orders.

States in India with comparatively few cases have had increases in recent days as migrant workers and other citizens returned home on special trains.

Turkey put into effect its toughest containment measures to date on Saturday for the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Houthi rebels in Yemen encouraged followers to wear masks and remain indoors, as authorities attempt to limit infections during a period traditionally marked by days of communal feasting and prayer.

Africa COVID-19 Cases Pass 100K

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that coronavirus cases on the continent have topped 100,000. Africa has so far not experienced the high numbers of cases seen in other parts of the world.

More than 3,100 people have died on the continent of 1.3 billion people, and the Africa CDC director says the continent has seen about the same number of new cases in the past week as the week before. "We hope that trend continues," Africa CDC Director Dr. John Nkengasong said.

The WHO said by comparison, when cases reached 100,000 in Europe, deaths stood at more than 4,900.

"For now, COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The WHO said an early analysis shows that the lower mortality rate could be the result of Africa's young population, with more than 60 percent of the continent under the age of 25.

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